Frank Sevola Grateful for Service to Rhode Island Food Bank

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Calling his involvement with the board of directors “one of the highlights of my ministry in Providence,” Frank Sevola, OFM, last month concluded his role as president of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, in preparation for his departure from Providence. Frank received praise from the food bank’s chief executive officer after stepping down at a board meeting last month.

“The entire staff and board of the Food Bank will miss Fr. Frank as he leaves Providence for his new role in New Jersey,” said Andrew Schiff. “He made a tremendous contribution to our work, and we will always be grateful to have worked with him.”

“Fr. Frank has served on our board of directors since 2004,” he added. “He became president of the board in October 2008 and chaired our Strategic Planning Committee, which set the mission, vision and goals for the organization through 2012.”

The R.I. Community Food Bank is “the parent organization of most of the local food pantries in the state,” said Frank, including “our Poverello Center,” the food and wellness center established by the Franciscans in 2005.

The St. Francis food program at the Proverello Center, located several miles west of the Church of St. Mary on Broadway, where Frank has served as pastor since 2005, is the largest client-choice food pantry in the state of Rhode Island, serving roughly 900 families a month, Frank said.

“The St. Francis Chapel and City Ministry Center is one of the most important providers of emergency food assistance in Providence, including a food pantry, called the Poverello Center, and a sandwich meal program, called Bread and Blessings,” according to Schiff. “Because of his experience leading these programs, Fr. Frank was able to help the board better understand the needs of those facing hunger. During his tenure as president of the board, the demand for food assistance in Rhode Island grew by 45 percent. Thanks to Fr. Frank’s outstanding leadership, the food bank has met this growing need and now serves over 55,000 people each month.”

On April 13, Frank participated in his final meeting as president of the food bank. “Normally, the presidency changes hands in October, but I will be gone before October. So, after a dinner for the board, a meeting was held and then the board presented me with a gift from the food bank.”

Next month, Frank, a Western New York native, will move to Pompton Lakes, N.J., to begin his next role, as pastor of St. Mary’s Church, a community that also offers a food pantry. On June 5, he will be honored by the Providence parish, along with incoming pastor Steven Patti, OFM, who is coming to Providence from Durham, N.C.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.